One thing no one tells you about parenthood is that you are about to get every single person’s (often unsolicited) opinion/advice on EVERYTHING. You may not have seen your Aunt Joan since you were 12, but dammit, she is going to tell you how to raise your baby; and you will listen to Aunt Joan and cousin Sally because you are scared shitless about bringing a baby into the world and you have no idea what you are doing. You will cry. You will feel like a worthless piece of shit because you did something wrong and think you are going to break your baby.
Let me break it down for you:
1. Everyone knows you somehow feed your baby, but that fact alone isn’t going to good enough. They are going to DEMAND to know how. Your old secretary Elizabeth is going to ask you if you are nursing before she even looks at that beautiful baby’s face. “Oh god, the baby is getting formula!” (“if he lives to be 2 it will be a miracle!” is exactly what she’s going to tell her neighbor who will never see the baby). “You will never be able to bond with your baby if you formula feed!” – let me tell you, a little less bonding with my 14 month old (previously formula fed) would be A-OK right about now. We bonded just fine. And he’s currently bonded right to my ass every second of every day. You are going to try to explain why you couldn’t nurse your baby like seemingly every other human can (failure). What you aren’t going to tell them is how you painstakingly sat on your couch and pumped on and off for hours every day and night (failure), and you would be so happy to have like a half ounce of milk total for the day (bad mom). You would save up every tiny little ounce of that milk to make a bottle for your baby, so you could somehow convince yourself that the 1 bottle of breastmilk everyday will make a difference and he won’t be a dreaded formula fed baby. You won’t tell them you cried in the shower every day for a month. “I wonder if Bill Gates was breastfed?” is actually something you may think to yourself, because you are really hoping there is some chance your baby will not live with you for the rest of your life just because he drank formula.
2. I nearly had a panic attack when my husband posted a video on Facebook of my then four month old trying rice cereal. Men are so cute; they are so blissfully unaware of the horrific criticism mother’s face by every. little. decision. Immediately I am in a panic because I know doctors and nurses and mothers on his facebook (and mine) are going to see that WE FED VINCENT RICE CEREAL AT FOUR MONTHS! What kind of freaking monsters are we? Formula fed AND rice cereal at four months old? We clearly want him fat and dead. And before you even think about it, it absolutely does not matter if your baby’s doctor told you it was ok. Every peasant with barely a high school education knows more than your baby’s doctor ever will. This girl Sandy on facebook you went to junior high with who dropped out of school and has 6 kids is gonna tell everyone you fed your baby RICE CEREAL at 4 months old and now everything about him is ruined. Gotta throw the whole baby out.
3. Don’t you dare rock your baby to sleep at night. Oh no no no, this is a terrible idea according to your mom’s Bingo partner Barb. You are never gonna get that baby to sleep without movement! Wait, what? The baby slept in a bassinet in your room for the first 4 months of his life? How did you have the non-stop sex your husband so desperately needs to survive so he can work full time while you sit at home every day filing your nails while watching your stories?
4. Ya know what else you do wrong? You also hold the baby too much. He’s never going to roll/crawl/walk/drive a car/get married/have his own children. He is going to be a big fat baby blob who you have to hold all the time. Why does he even need bones? BABY BLOB.
5. You are not supposed to give your baby any medicinal treatments before he’s 12 (“Tylenol will damage his kidneys” Alexis, the former oxy-addict writes on her facebook page), but you also cannot use anything holistic either. “WHAT IS THAT?” I would hear 87 times a day because I had an amber teething necklace on V. When I would so gently explain the WONDERFUL ways the amber helps a teething baby with inflammation (it really helps, get one), all your Grandma’s friend Kathy is going to worry about is if you leave that necklace on your baby while he’s sleeping, because even though he can barely roll over he is going to get that necklace caught on the crib and hang himself. No, it doesn’t matter that it’s a breakaway necklace, he’s going to die. RIP Baby Blob.
6. “That baby needs socks” I was advised by a childless, male, former co-worker on facebook. I read that comment probably 82 times to myself. Great. My baby’s feet are going to freeze and fall off now. It doesn’t matter that he is inside a warm house. It doesn’t matter that he has a long sleeve onesie and pants on. It doesn’t matter that I took the picture before getting him undressed and ready for a bath…HE IS GOING TO FREEZE. You also can never leave home without a huge hat on your baby’s head. It doesn’t matter if he’s sweating. If he takes it off you need to duct tape it on his head. You can tell your next door neighbor Julie that the baby is always hot – she will tell you this is not possible and that he’s losing all his warmth out of the top of his head. Babies need 87 layers on at all times because they will catch a cold. Nevermind the fact that you can’t catch a cold from simply a cold temperature, the baby WILL catch a cold. Julie has 27 kids and 99 grandkids. SHE KNOWS.
Other quick little tidbits for you because this is getting way too long:
7. Do not use Desitin**, powder, anything by Johnson & Johnson***, or anything NOT containing organic vegan coconut oil made out of virgin baby coconuts. The baby will get cancer and die. I don’t know why they still sell these at Target, the Mom Mecca. I don’t know why hospitals use Desitin! I don’t even know how I’m still alive right now being that my mom probably used all of the above on me. I was breastfed though, sorry baby*.
8. Never take a picture without your baby properly restrained in his carseat. It doesn’t matter if you are LITERALLY removing him from the seat. RESTRAINED. And rear facing until he is 22 or 225lbs, whatever comes first.
9. When you introduce bottles, you can only use Dr. Brown’s bottles. I don’t know why, it’s just what we have to do to keep the babies alive. (I actually used MAM bottles and loved them)
I think you get the point.
This post is inspired by the older woman who yelled at me from a moving vehicle today to “Put a coat on that kid!”. Next time, PLEASE stop and chat with me, I would love to hear you tell me everything I am doing wrong that I already haven’t told myself I suck at.
*disclaimer 1: I am in no way, shape or form dissing breastfed babies. I tried to BF, I tried to pump. It didn’t work out. I will try again. If you formula feed, you get it.
**disclaimer 2: I use desitin. It seems to work well.
***disclaimer 3: I also use Johnson & Johnson body wash. It is the only thing that doesn’t break him out.
****disclaimer 4: names were changed to protect the innocent, yet annoying people with their unsolicited advice.